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sometimes rendered it necessary to anticipate both names and fact3, which are to find a more definite place in a subsequent part of the work.
This arrangement is probably different from that of any former his. torical retrospect. Every chapter of the following volume completes its particular subject, and may be considered in some degree as inde. pendent of the rest. The order, consequently, in which they are read will not be very material, though of course I should rather prefer that in which they are at present disposed. A solicitude to avoid continual transitions, and to give free scope to the natural association of connected facts, hias dictated this arrangement, to which I confess myself partial. And I have found its inconveniences so trifling in composition, that I cannot believe they will occasioni luuch trouble to the reader.
The first chapter comprises the history of France from the invasion of Clovis to the expedition, exclusively, of Charles VIII, against Naples. It is not possible to fix accurate limits to the Middle Ages; but though the ten centuries from the fifth to the fifteenth seem, in a general point of view, to constitute that period, a less arbitrary division was necessary to render the commencement and conclusion of a historical narrative satisfactory. The continuous chain of transactions on the stage of human society is ill divided by mere lines of chronological demarcation. But as the subversion of the western empire is manifestly the natural termination of ancient history, so the establishment of the Franks in Gaul appears the most convenient epoch for the commencement of a new period. Less difficulty occurred in finding the other limit. The invasion of Naples by Charles VIII was the event that first engaged the principal states of Europe in relations of alliance or hostility which may be deduced to the present day, and is the point at which every man who traces backwards its political history will be obliged to pause. It furnishes a determinate epoch in the annals of Italy and France, and nearly coincides with events which naturally terminate the history of the Middle Ages in other countries.
The feudal system is treated in the second chapter, which I have subjoined to the history of France, with which it has a near connexion. Inquiries into the antiquities of that jurisprudence occupied more attention in the last age than at present, and their dryness may prove repulsive to many readers. But there is no royal road to the knowledge of law; nor can any man render an obscure and intricate disquisition either perspicuous or entertaining. That the feudal system is an important branch of historical knowledge will not be disputed, when we consider not only its influence upon our own constitution, but that one of the parties which at present divide a neighbouring kingdom professes to appeal to the original principles of its monarchy, as they subsisted before the subversion of that polity.
The four succeeding chapters contain a sketch, more or less rapid and general, of the histories of Italy, of Spain, of Germany, and of the Greek and Saracenic empires. In the seventh I have endeavoured to develop the progress of ecclesiastical power, a subject eminently distinguishing the Middle Ages, and of which a concise and impartial delineation has long been desirable.
The English constitution furnishes materials for the eighth chapter. I cannot hope to have done sufficient justice to this theme, which has cost me considerable labour; but it is worthy of remark, that since the treatise of Nathaniel Bacon, itself open to much exception, there has been no historical development of our constitution, founded upon extensive researches, or calculated to give a just notion of its character.
The ninth and last chapter relates to the general state of society in Europe during the Middle Ages, and comprehends the history of commerce, of manners, and of literature. None, however, of these are treated in detail, and the whole chapter is chiefly designed as supplemental to the rest, in order to vary the relations under which events may be viewed, and to give a more adequate sense of the spirit and character of the Middle Ages.
In the execution of a plan far more comprehensive than what, with a due consideration either of my abilities or opportunities, I ought to have undertaken, it would be strangely presumptuous to hope that I can have rendered myself invulnerable to criticism. Even if flagrant errors should not be frequently detected, yet I am aware that a desire of conciseness has prevented the sense of some passages from appearing sufficiently distinct; and though I cannot hold myself generally responsible for omissions in a work which could only be brought within a reasonable compass by the severe retrenchment of superfluous matter, it is highly probable that defective information, forgetfulness, or too great a regard for brevity have caused me to pass over many things which would have materially illustrated the various subjects of these inquiries.
I dare not, therefore, appeal with confidence to the tribunal of those superior judges, who, having bestowed a more undivided attention on the particular objects that have interested them, may justly deem such general sketches imperfect and superficial ; but my labours will not have proved fruitless, if they shall conduce to stimulate the reflection, to guide the researches, to correct the prejudices, or to animate the liberal and virtuous sentiments of inquisitive youth :
Mi satis ampla
NOTE.—IN 1848 a Supplemental Volume to the “Middle Ages of Europe" was issued, to be had separately for ios. 6d.
In the Preface, Mr Hallam writes, “I was always reluctant to make such alterations as would leave to the purchasers of former editions a right to complain;" adding, "These Supplemental Notes will not much affect the value of their copy." Also, “That the several chapters which follow the second have furnished no great store of additions ;" and, “In not many instances have I seen ground for mate rially altering my own views."
ON THE FEUDAL SYSTEM, ESPECIALLY IN FRANCE.
PARTS FIRST AND SECOND,
STATE OF EUROPE
DURING THE MIDDLE AGES.
THE HISTORY OF FRANCE, FROM ITS CONQUEST BY CLOVIS TO THE
INVASION OF NAPLES BY CHARLES VIII.
BEFORE the conclusion of the fifth century, the mighty fabric of empire, which valour and policy had founded upon the seven hills of Rome, was finally overthrown, in all the west of Europe, by the barbarous nations from the north, whose martial energy and whose numbers were irresistible. A race of men, formerly unknown or despised, had not only dismembered that proud sovereignty, but permanently settled themselves in its fairest provinces, and imposed their yoke upon the ancient possessors. The Vandals were masters of Africa ; the Suevi held part of Spain ; the Visigoths possessed the remainder, with a large portion of Gaul; the Burgundians occupied the provinces watered by the Rhone and Saone : the Ostrogoths almost all Italy. The north-west of Gaul, between the Seine and Loire, some writers have filled with an Armorican republic ; 1 while the remainder was
1 It is impossible not to speak sceptically as to this republic, or, rather, confederation of independent cities under the rule of their respective bishops, which Du Bos has with great ingenuity raised upon very slight historical evidence, and in defiance of the silence of I The system of Père Daniel, who denies any settlement of the Franks on the left bank of the Rhine before Clovis, seems incapable of being supported. It is difficult to resist the presumption that arises from the discovery of the tomb and skeleton of Childeric, father of Clovis, at Tournay, in 1653.
Subversion of the Roman Empire. nominally subject to the Roman empire, and governed by a certain Syagrius, rather with an independent than a deputed authority.
At this time, A.D. 486, Clovis, king of the Salian Franks, a tribe of Germans long connected with Rome, and originally settled upon the right bank of the Rhine, but who had latterly penetrated as far as Tournay and Cambray,' invaded Gaul and defeated Syagrius at Sois
The result of this victory was the subjugation of those provinces which had previously been considered as Roman. But as their allegiance had not been very strict, so their loss was not very severely felt ; since the emperors of Constantinople were not too proud to confer upon Clovis the titles of consul and patrician, which he was too prudent to refuse.
Some years after this, Clovis defeated the Alemanni, or Swabians, in a great battle at Zulpich, near Cologne. In consequence of a vow, as it is said, made during this engagement, and at the instigation of his wife Clotilda, a princess of Burgundy, he became a convert to Christianity. It would be a fruitless inquiry, whether he was sincere in his change; but it is certain, at least, that no policy could, in 496, have been more successful. The Arian sect, which had been early introduced among the barbarous nations, was predominant, though apparently without intolerance, in the Burgundian and Visigoth courts; but the clergy of Gaul were strenuously attached to the Catholic side, and even before his conversion had favoured the arms of Clovis. They now became his most zealous supporters ; and were rewarded by him with artful gratitude, and by his descendants with lavish munificence. Upon the pretence of religion, he, in 507, attacked Gregory, whose see of Tours bordered upon their supposed territory. But his hypothesis is not to be absolutely rejected, because it is by no means deficient in internal probability, and the early part of Gregory's history is brief and negligent.
2 The theory of Du Bos, who considers Clovis as a sort of lieutenant of the emperors, and As governing the Roman part of his subjects by no other title, has justly seemed extravagant to later critical inquirers into the history of France. But it may nevertheless be true, that the connexion between him and the empire, and the emblems of Roman magistracy which he bore, reconciled the conquered to their new masters. This is judiciously stated by the duke de Nivernois. In the sixth century, however, the Greeks appear to have been nearly ignorant of Clovis's countrymen. Nothing can be made out of a passage in Procopius, where he seems to mention the Armoricans under the name Appópuxou; and Agathias gives a strangely romantic account of the Franks, whom he extols for their conformity to Roman laws, TOALTEL ως τα πολλα χρώνται Ρωμαϊκη, και νομοις τοις αυτοις. κ. τ. λ. He goes on to commend their mutual union, and observes particularly, that in partitions of the kingdom, which had frequently been made, they had never taken up arms against each other, nor polluted the land with civil bloodshed. One would almost believe him ironical.
3 Gregory of Tours makes a very rhetorical story of this famous vow, which, though we cannot disprove, it may be permitted to suspect.
• A specious objection might be drawn from the history of the Gothic monarchies in Italy, as well as Gaul and Spain, to the great principles of religious toleration. These Arian sove. reigns treated their Catholic subjects, it may be said, with tenderness, leaving them in possession of every civil privilege, and were rewarded for it by their defection or sedition. But in answer to this, it may be observed-1. That the system of persecution adopted by the Vandals in Africa succeeded no better, the Catholics of that province having risen against them upon the landing of Belisarius. 2. That we do not know what insults and discouragements the Catholics of Gaul and Italy may have endured, especially from the Arian bishops, in that age of bigotry: although the administrations of Alaric and Theodoric were liberal and tolerant. 3. That the distinction of Arian and Catholic was intimately connected with that of Goth and Roman, of conqueror and conquered, so that it is difficult to separate the cffects of national from those of sectarian animosity.